Now that you have booked your flight to South Africa, be it for business, personal or holiday reasons, it’s time to consider whether you will need a car rental or not. While it might seem cheap to settle for public transportation, having a personal car rental has its own set of advantages. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any disadvantages.
So before you settle for that lucrative car hire deal, here are some things you should keep in mind, to help you make the correct decision.
Do You Really Need To Rent A Car?
Yes and no
Yes, if you are planning on having a short visit with a tight schedule. You won’t have enough time to spare waiting for public transport. So if you want to spare some time for several activities, then it’s best if you have a car rental that will be on standby all the time. Also, generally, the state of public transportation in South Africa’s Major cities doesn’t rank among the best in the world. So if you are anticipating for a VIP kind of treatment, then you better curb your disappointment and settle for a car hire instead. Well, not unless you’re ready to embrace a totally different experience.
Another issue comes to accessing the outsides of the central cities. Without a car, you will be forced to take a taxi, which can be rather expensive on long-term use. Some places aren’t simply inaccessible via public transport. This includes some parts of the city. For instance, in Capetown, inner city bus transportation is limited to certain hours. That’s mainly daytime and early evenings. So if you plan on conducting your business up to the late hours of the night, then you definitely need a car rental.
No, if your trip is a short one. Let’s say a day or two and won’t involve a lot of movements outside the city center. Here you can even opt to use a taxi, which will be cheaper as most car hire companies offer discounts mainly for long-term use.
Booking A Car Rental
Yes, it’s true that South Africa has a wide range of car rental companies. But it’s also true that there are times when these car rentals are simply unavailable due to overwhelming demand, especially during peak seasons. So you should always consider booking a car as soon as you book your flight. Also, this will save you so much frustration with moving from desk to desk at the airport trying to figure out which company has the best offers.
Booking early gives you enough time to shop around and settle for the best deal. It also increases your chance of landing your favorite car model, which will make driving around much easier. Some car rental companies such as Bidvest Car Rental offer convenient online booking from major South African Airports.
The company has rapidly blossomed into becoming one of South Africa’s top car hire companies over the last few years, and this could be attributed to its wide range of amazing daily, weekend and corporate rates. Take advantage of that and save yourself the frustration of arrival day bookings.
Evaluating Car Rental Quotations
Before you hurriedly make a down payment for that incredibly luring car rental quote ensure you get the major details of what the price really entails. Does it include the vat? Unlimited kilometers per day? A damage waiver? There shouldn’t be room for second-guessing.
Also, pay attention to minor details concerning tire and windscreen repairs as this is where most individuals are caught off guard. Also, ensure you get coverage for third party damage and the model of the vehicle. Don’t fall for the hidden car model trick as it might turn your visit into a nightmare with various breakdown incidences. Insisting on a full quotation including all the above areas and probably above more is the best way to secure yourself from unexpected discoveries.
The Provision Of Back-up Services
This mainly applies to individuals that are planning to travel for long distances outside South Africa’s main cities/towns. Yes, your car might be in good condition when you pick it from the agency, but sometimes the unexpected does happen. Imagine being stuck with a breakdown in a new place? The thought of this is scary on its own. So ensure the car rental agency you settle for at least has replacement services at major spots countrywide. This will give you peace of mind.
If the car hire company doesn’t have countrywide coverage, then let them explain to you on how they intend to deal with emergency cases. It’s always good to be on the know-how from the start.
Understand The Car Rental Insurance Cover
Having a motorist insurance cover in South Africa isn’t mandatory as it’s to other parts of the world. So if by any chance you get into an accident, you probably have to solely pay for the damages. Therefore, if you can, get as much of a comprehensive cover for your visit as you can. Yes, this might be costly, but it’s way better than having to spend cash in such instances.
What You Should Do Before You Pick Your Car Rental
If you’re planning on relying on car rental services, then you should ensure to carry your driving license, of course with an English description If you can, get an international driver’s license with the proper translation of the writings to English. You should, of course, have your passport with you and your credit card (not check/debit).
Once you get to the car hire agency, ensure you carefully read the contract before signing. Also, take time to inspect the car for any damages and take clear pictures. Any damage should be indicated on the contract before you and the agency’s representative sign it. You don’t want to incur extra costs, paying for damages you aren’t responsible for.
Therefore, equipping yourself with the correct car rental information is the best way of making your trip to South Africa successfully. Having your car gives you the flexibility to tour the country and maximizing on your time. But you have to ensure you get value for your money by knowing the best booking time, damage control measures and favorable car rental quotes. Sometimes it takes curiosity to unearth the truth, so don’t be scared to ask questions. Happy travels!